Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Training Notes: March 16

This may turn out to be the year of the nail for the Royals. First, we had Jose Guillen's self-surgery on the toenail of his right big toe. Now we hear that Doug Waechter needed to have the middle fingernail on his right hand removed because it was causing blisters. Jeremy Affeldt had the same procedure done a few years ago when he was still with the Royals.

The battle for second base has been interesting so far. Alberto Callaspo is letting his opportunity to win the job slip through his hands by hitting just .176 in the 14 games he's played in. Willie Bloomquist is helping his cause by hitting .324 in 12 games. And Mark Teahen blasted two home runs yesterday and he's hitting .400 in seven games. You'd have to think that Bloomquist has the advantage right now because of his defensive skills at second base, but if Teahen continues to hit, it'll be interesting to see if Hillman gives Bloomquist the nod or not.

Carlos Rosa was optioned to Omaha. He's had a great spring (2.45 ERA in four games), but that just shows you how good the Royals bullpen is right now. The Royals want to convert Rosa into a relief pitcher and they plan to work with him in Omaha to make that happen.

Trey Hillman said that the Royals have been evaluating some statistics: "We did our own Royals study on number of pitches seen and pitches thrown last year in our games. The percentages were amazing. The winning team saw more pitches in 68.1 percent of our games." I'm not sure why the percentages were amazing. Of course, more pitches could just mean more strike outs, but generally, more pitches mean better looks, better counts, more walks, or more ABs—all of which mean, more runs.

Luke Hochevar is getting closer to nailing down the final spot in the rotation. He pitched well against the Giants yesterday (1 ER on 6 H in 4.1 IP), lowering his ERA to 2.92. I listened to the game online and according to the Giants' announcers, Hochevar was laboring in the fifth inning after throwing 57 pitches. That's a bit concerning, but maybe expected since starters are just now beginning to work their way into the middle innings.

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